J.K. Rowling's Privacy Complaint Rejected

Posted on June 27, 2008

J.K. Rowling's recent complaint to the Press Complaints Commission has been rejected. Rowling complained about several newspaper articles which discussed her purchase of property near her home.

Rowling complained about articles in the Daily Mirror, Daily Record and the Scottish Mail on Sunday that reported that she had bought a property close to the estate she already owns in Perthshire. The Scottish Mail on Sunday article, headlined "JK's Rowling hills", was accompanied by pictures showing long-distance views of the author's home, the neighbouring property that she had recently bought and the surrounding countryside.

Rowling, through her solicitors Schillings, said that the articles, published in October last year, invaded her privacy by identifying the location of her Perthshire home. She complained that there had been a breach of clause 3 of the PCC code of practice. In 2005 the PCC upheld a complaint from Rowling after the Daily Mirror published information that could identify the address of her London home.

However, in this case the PCC, which has stated that identifying the location of celebrities' homes may attract stalkers, found that the articles did not name the road the property was on, nor its location in relation to the nearest town.

The PCC's appear somewhat capricious. First they ruled for her because the newspapers revealed the location of her home. But when newspapers published photos which show exactly where the home and surrounding property is, the PCC ruled against her. By now, surely everyone in England knows exactly where she lives. Luckily, she can afford excellent security.

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